It’s been an almost anxiety free time this last 4 weeks or so which has allowed the rest of me, the real me, space to breathe and come out and express. It coincided with the start of my surrender experiment and I’m pretty sure they are related.
The surrender experiment, inspired by Michael Singer, continues. It does get easier most of the time, though when I’m tired I notice it’s more challenging. And easier yes, though always challenging actually to just be with disturbing feelings and not do anything. Especially with old habits that suggest we run around making the world ‘just so’ in order for us to feel okay.
Sitting with inner disturbance, whether it’s irritation, anger, fear, impatience, and not doing anything other than relax and accept and surrender it. Every day whenever an event in the outside world disturbs me like this, I breath, relax consciously, watch my thoughts and don’t get tied up in their story, and give it up. I slip behind myself into observer at the same time as feeling the disturbing feelings.
For me, it’s neighbour noises, dog barking, kids screaming, drivers going more slowly in front of me than I want to drive. I have enough each day several times a day to practise. I’m looking forward to seeing how I am with old favourites in the family which are particularly strong triggers.
So it’s been a 10/10 experience these last few weeks. Happy, creative, contented, relaxed and new experiences arrive frequently and some quite surprisingly in this state and bring with them a sense of joy. Regular experiences are as if they are brand new and I notice the beauty and miraculousness of life more often.
The dog is a delight, the woods, this room, this chair, the music, the flowers, the autumn colours, the people in the park, the architecture, the temperature, the sun and the rain….
My inner state changes when I watch or read the news. This has become very noticeable now that my inner state is calmer. I didn’t notice that much when I felt anxiety every day.
I’m practising mindfulness every day all day. And I forget for short periods continually (and am often only alerted by a change of sensation/mood) and just bring myself back. It feels like I’m absent from myself when I get lost in thought. My thoughts are no longer running the show much or dictating what I feel. They are NOTICED. Most of the feedback from thoughts is wrong. They want desperately to be believed, but they are appraisals not based on evidence largely. They come and they go, one after the other and another and another. All day long thoughts come and go. I don’t need to get involved.
There is noticeable joyfulness and lightness in mood present. I’m using that as an opportunity to welcome wellbeing, and I let it know that it can arrive anytime it likes!
One exercise I’ve been doing is noticing wellbeing and giving experiences a score of 10/10, and consciously feeling gratitude. So often when I was in anxiety I’d score my experience as a 2 or 3/10 and be wanting or waiting for another better moment.
I think many of us score our moment to moment experience low, and it’s a helpful exercise to score up high no matter how small the experience. I’m having a 10/10 blogging experience right now for example. I had a 10/10 dog patting experience a few moments ago.